Have you ever found yourself dawning a crisp jersey, state-of-the-art shammies and fashion-forward baggies only to slip into a pair of haggard, not-so-white cotton socks? Yeah, me too. I have spent a considerable amount of time digging to the bottom of drawers excavating pairs of miss-matched socks stretched far beyond my shoe size.
Thankfully those days are now over. I recently procured some Darn Tough run/bike socks and have been putting them through rigorous testing (i.e. skipping work and riding my bike). Darn Tough is a family-owned textile business that has operated in Northfield, Vermont for over 30 years. This bodes well. Most bike gear is slow boated over from China but who better to build a sock for biking Vermont’s elements than a family of Vermonters?
The Darn Tough quality was apparent from the get go. When I first put them on I was amazed by the velvety feel of the Merino wool. Remember the first time you tried on a pair of silk underwear? Yeah, that good. And when laced up inside my well worn Shimano DX shoes, I was even more impressed, they never felt so good.
Merino wool is perfectly suited to the demands of mountain biking for a number of reasons. It is excellent at regulating body temperature, providing warmth without overheating. It also has wicking properties that draw sweat away from the skin and, best of all, it retains warmth when wet unlike cotton. So on those cold, wet Spring days you wont freeze your little piggies off.
Like most wools, Merino also contains lanolin which has antibacterial properties so you won’t smell like you have trench foot after a wet ride at Kingdom Trails. My wife will be so happy. And finally, Merino is not a petroleum product. It’s easy to forget that much of our bike gear is derived from oil wells rather than cute critters like sheep.
One of my favorite aspects of the Darn Tough sock is their understated design. Instead of cuffs emblazoned with skulls or chili peppers they have simple Darn Tough logos in subdued colors. I would wear them on the outside of my shoes if I could.
So, after three straight days riding nearly 50 miles of singletrack, some of which was in the rain, the socks proved victorious! I even left them balled up in the toe of my shoes overnight, skipped a wash, and wore them two days back-to-back and sure enough, no Limburger cheese stink! They performed perfectly and I am now a true believer in Darn Tough! MTBVT gives them two big-toes up. Darn Tough… damn straight.